TODAY

TODAY   |  May 17, 2013

Aimee Copeland: ‘I was reborn as someone different’

A year after losing her hands and feet to a flesh-eating bacteria, Aimee Copeland is adjusting to life as the first woman to receive state-of-the-art prosthetic hands. She talks about how she’s coping with her losses and her hopes for the future. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> amy copeland, the georgia woman who baird survived a rare flesh eating bacteria last year. nbc's gabe gutierrez explains she's hit a milestone in her recovery.

>> reporter: for amy copeland, li life is about to change again.

>> sometimes i wake up and i'm like oh my gosh this is my life? this is crazy.

>> reporter: that life attracted international attention, a zip line accident where she contracted a flesh eating bacteria , the amazing recovery after losing her hands and feet . what's been the biggest difference?

>> well before i was a very, very active person. so that's probably the biggest difference is my activity level.

>> reporter: but now a year later, her journey has brought her here, touch bionics here columbus, ohio.

>> are you ready?

>> yeah, i'm so excited. it looks great.

>> reporter: amy 's being fitted for these prosthetic hands, the first woman ever to use the state-of-the-art models on both arms.

>> almost like a muscle memory with these things. you got to find that sweet spot and be able to just pick things up naturally and that will come with time.

>> reporter: until then she's relearning old skills.

>> the first time you close it's just going to lock these fingers and your thumb around that.

>> ooh!

>> reporter: after just a few days with her new hands, amy is already writing her name.

>> i love it.

>> reporter: styling her hair.

>> yeah! works. nice.

>> reporter: and putting on jewelry.

>> all right. successful after some help.

>> reporter: it's not always easy.

>> whoops. one in.

>> reporter: but success comes with practice.

>> awesome.

>> reporter: things like a handshake become familiar once again. very good, don't squeeze too hard.

>> there are some things she's done in one or two days that take others a year.

>> reporter: she controls it on an ipad.

>> you can toggle between 24 different grip modes.

>> reporter: the bionic hands are normally $100,000 apiece, amy will serve as a spokesperson for the company so she's getting them for free.

>> i'm really looking forward to cooking with these and cleaning my house, i'm sort of ocd so seems a weird thing to want to do but i really want to clean.

>> reporter: this month she's finishing her masters degree in psychology and after that she plans to start on a second master's degree in social work .

>> honestly i look at pictures of how i was before and feel almost disconnected from that person so in a way it almost feels like i died a year ago and i was reborn as someone different.

>> reporter: a new perspective in good hands. for "today," gabe gutierrez, nbc news, ohio.